Thursday, October 31, 2013

Global Impact: Sea Shepherds' Paul Watson in US After Months on the Run

According to AFP, Sea Shepherds Conservation Society (SSCS) founder and president Paul Watson, 62, a Canadian, has turned over to federal law enforcement in US after 15 months at sea on the run from an international Interpol request for his arrest.

Watson vowed to continue campaigning "undaunted" and said he was heading for Seattle after arriving in Los Angeles earlier this week, to defend himself from legal action there.

Watson said he would challenge a Red Notice requested by Japan in the United States, adding that he was "heading to Seattle to defend Sea Shepherd and myself from the ... civil suit launched by the Japanese whalers.

Watson was arrested in May 2012 in Frankfurt on a warrant from Costa Rica, where he is wanted on charges stemming from a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002. He was released on bail after paying a fine, and was ordered to appear before police twice a day. But skipped bail on July 22, 2012 and fled Germany.

The following month, France-based Interpol issued an international request for his arrest.

COMMENT: Watson, known to his supporters as "The Captain," had been on the run at sea since July 2012, and even participated in a new campaign against Japanese whalers in Antarctica last winter.

Paul Watson was born in Toronto, Canada, on December 2, 1950. In 1968, Watson joined the Canadian Coast Guard. Watson later joined Greenpeace, but was later deemed too extreme for the group and left to found SSCS which has engaged in illegal boarding of ships on the high seas engaged in legalized whaling. 

Watson left Greenpeace because he felt the original goals of the organization were being compromised, and because he saw a global need to continue direct action conservation activities on the high seas by an organization that would enforce laws protecting marine wildlife. 

In December 1978, with the assistance of Cleveland Amory and the Fund for Animals, Watson purchased a North Atlantic trawler in Britain and converted her into the conservation enforcement vessel SEA SHEPHERD.

Watson majored in communications and linguistics at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. 

For the better part of 35 years, despite legalized whaling, Paul Watson has engaged in the illegal disruption of commercial fishing and whaling on the high seas, often resulting in the commission of statutory crimes.